How to Treat Charcot Foot: Stalling the Breakdown
Updated: Jul 30, 2020
According to Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals, about 10% of residents in the state have had a diabetes diagnosis from their doctor. That means that 1 in 10 people in Louisiana are at risk for complications like poor circulation and neuropathy that can lead to a breakdown in the joints of their feet. To avoid long-term consequences like arch collapse or infection, you need to treat Charcot foot as soon as you notice that anything is wrong.
That is one reason why regular foot exams are so crucial for diabetic feet. Some symptoms to look for are redness and warmth, swelling, pain, bruises or discoloring, numbness, and a feeling of instability in your feet. Charcot foot causes a deterioration of the joints and bones, and can lead to fractures. Because neuropathy causes loss of sensation, you may keep walking on your damaged feet, making the problem worse. Starting treatment immediately is your best chance of stalling the breakdown and preventing serious deformity or even amputation.
We treat Charcot foot in two phases. The acute phase may or may not involve surgery to remove bony growths or repair fractures and reconstruct the arch, but it will mean many weeks in a cast or brace to keep the joints in your feet from moving. During this time, it is crucial to stay off your feet. Using a wheelchair or crutches to avoid all weight-bearing is best. Any weight put on your feet will increase the time needed for healing.
The post-acute phase of healing will last the rest of your life. You need to understand how to protect your foot with braces or restraints as it heals, and continue with special shoes that may help keep your foot structure from breaking down. Total healing time may take a year or more. Of course, managing your diabetes will be a huge part of the equation as well.
At Gulf South Foot & Ankle, LLC, diabetic foot care and reconstructive foot surgery are what we do best. If you notice the above symptoms of Charcot foot, come in right away for an examination. Catching it in the initial stage is key to a better outcome, so don’t delay. Call our office in Metairie, LA, today at (504)-708-4810, or request an appointment right on our website. Our caring staff is ready to help you keep your feet in great shape!